by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Radiation therapy is a method used to kill cancer. The goal is to get as close to the cancer without harming structures around it. In some cases, it’s used with chemotherapy (called chemoradiation).

It's given:

  • After surgery to kill any cancer cells left behind
  • To ease problems from cancer that has spread and help you live longer

External Beam

Radiation is made by a machine outside the body. The type of machine will depend on where the cancer is, how large it is, and the type.

Radiation of a Tumor
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Side Effects and Management

Since this type is aimed at the pelvis, you may have:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Blood in the stool
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Diarrhea
  • A harder time holding urine
  • To pass urine more often
  • Problems with fertility—If you think you may want children, talk to your doctor. Do so before you’re treated. You may be able to have your semen frozen for later use.

There are many ways to treat these problems. Other common issues are dry, sore skin, nausea, vomiting, and feeling tired because of anemia. Talk to your healthcare team as soon as these appear.


Management of nonseminoma testicular cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Accessed October 1, 2020.

Management of seminoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Accessed October 1, 2020.

Radiation therapy for testicular cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: Updated May 17, 2018. Accessed October 31, 2018.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
  • Review Date: 09/2020
  • Update Date: 12/04/2020